In his column for the Daily Beast, longtime conservative and former Republican Matt Lewis encouraged former President Donald Trump to make good on his word and go form his own party, thereby sparing the Republican Party of being dragged down even further by the motley collection of "weirdos" the ex-president has attracted.
As Lewis sees it, the best thing the GOP can hope for if it is ever to become a viable and growing party again is for Trump to start up his own, creating an exodus of far-right extremists of the sort who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6th.
According to Lewis, that prospect may be the GOP's "last best hope."
"We should be so lucky," Lewis wrote. "Indeed, a Trumpian 'Patriot Party' might be the only way to salvage the Grand Old Party. Right now, Republican politicians are captives to their own base. Weirdos like the 'QAnon Shaman' are no longer content to be co-opted by the establishment; they have, to one degree or another, seized control of right-wing media and the state political parties. Now they are slowly infiltrating the Capitol on their own terms by winning elections as Republicans."
Saying that, at the moment, the "inmates are running the asylum," Lewis suggested that the GOP would see addition by subtracting the worst elements of the party -- even if that cost them the next presidential election as they regrouped.
"But there's more in life than the next election. I'm more focused on the long game. The GOP did not get into this mess overnight, and fixing it—if it ever happens—will take time," he elaborated. "Sane Republicans should be willing to lose at least one more presidential election to the Democrats while this shakes out. Regardless, it would be the least bad of possible scenarios confronting the GOP. Since the notion that they can simply outlast Trumpism seems wildly naive, the options are to a) do nothing and lose elections and your party or b) let Trump take one-third of the fallen angels with him (a new poll shows '3 in 10 Republican voters [are] open to a Patriot party'). Forcing people to choose which party to join would be both revealing and healthy (in the sense that we would know where people stand)."
He added, "Let's be honest, divorce is always painful, and it's usually a lose-lose situation. But if divorce is inevitable, you're typically better off if you get to keep the house. If sane Republicans are able to keep the house (in this case, a metaphor for the infrastructure and institutional advantages afforded to the Republican Party), then they would begin anew with a major advantage."
Lewis went on to make the pitch that the president go all the way and call his new party the "Trump Party," ("...this would appeal to the ego of a man who slaps his last name on everything from buildings to steaks), saying that alone would make Trump make the leap.
"He's obviously been pondering this strategy for a while. It's not like he has any deep loyalty to the GOP. In other words, this scenario is probably too good to actually happen. Unless he vacates with the crazies in tow, I honestly don't see how Republicans can reclaim their sanity. And the truth is that Republicans shouldn't expect Trump to solve this problem for them, because, the odds are, he won't," Lewis wrote before noting, "Nobody takes their ball and goes home—unless they're kicked off the team."
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